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Youth Power Project (YPP)

Nearly one in five young people in Bushwick is "disconnected"—not in work and not in school, adrift from family and community.

MRNY's programs reach the low-income youth most at risk and support them in becoming effective thinkers, leaders and decision-makers. Our grassroots campaigns give young people—many of whom feel powerless and alienated—a voice in policies that affect them. Our programs provide academic and emotional support, cultivate creativity and critical thinking skills, and helps students seize educational opportunities.

The results? YPP members report increased confidence, improved ability to think critically and resolve differences with peers: crucial skills for college students and engaged citizens.

YPP offers political education on the rights of immigrant youth, biased policing and other top issues. YPP members have the chance to express their views through arts and multimedia projects, in our well-regarded youth newspaper and blog, Word on the Street, and through through innovative collaborations with our partners in the Hive Learning Network.

YPP engages youth—many of whom are alienated from the decision-making that shapes their lives—in high-level organizing campaigns. In recent years, YPP campaigns have helped dramatically reform biased policing and improve school discipline policies in New York City. Through this, young people gain skills in working collaboratively, thinking critically, and making broad-based change.

YPP's work to improve school discipline policies led to passage of the Student Safety Act of 2011, one of the most comprehensive reporting and transparency laws of its type in the US.

Our Student Success Centers (SSCs) were designed and implemented by YPP members to provide intensive support to low-income high school students. Peer counselors help with college essays, financial aid and applications—something that overburdened school staff simply can't do for most students. After graduation, our summer bridge program keeps in touch to ensure fall college enrollment.

In 2013, YPP supported 80% of students in four Bushwick high schools to apply for college and financial aid, achieving a 75% acceptance rate, while advocating for better college access for young immigrants.

YPP helped design and open two successful small high schools, Pan-American International High School (PAIHS) and Bushwick School for Social Justice (BSSJ), that foster civic engagement among low-income and immigrant students.

Our youth design policies to make schools throught New York City more inclusive and supportive. YPP's work aso informed the design and implementation of the City's new anti-bullying curriculum, Respect for All. We are currently piloting a peer-led restorative discipline program in four small high schools that will replace less effective zero-tolerance policies.

How We Work | Organizing | Leadership | Adult Education | Workforce
Youth | Legal & Support Services | Policy


Paid Sick Days Now the Law in NYC!

Starting July 30, 2014, workers in NYC can now take paid sick days under the recent expansion of the Earned Sick Time Act that MRNY members helped to win.

Building upon the original law, now workers at businesses with 5 employees or more can earn up to 5 paid days off per year to care for themselves or a sick family member. No worker in NYC can be fired for taking a sick day. Read more...